Followers of my music will know this existed as a single before Triptych came out. I remember driving to Central California while on tour and having the melody/concept in my head. I mumbled the lyric ideas into my iPhone then when I got to the hotel, started writing it down on bits of the hotel notepad paper. I imagined a cross between Incubus and Dream Theater.
In fact, there are many references to songs on Dream Theater's Images and Words album. I made lyrical references to "Wait for Sleep" and "Surrounded" especially. Check out how the solo compares to "Under a Glass Moon". I intentionally added similar musical sections to "Surrounded"- especially what I call the 'U2 section' after the 2nd Chorus. I also love that this song is in 7/8 time yet it's still very pop-y. I was always appreciated artists like Peter Gabriel and Sting who could combine musical complexity with a pop aesthetic.
The bulk of the song was tracked with my Carvin "Trusty" guitar while the solo was tracked with my Ernie Ball JP13 - new at the time. I had recently met drummer Lester Estelle then, and it's very possible this was the first song he ever tracked for me. Billy Nobel did the initial keyboard work, though when I later had it mixed by the supremely talented Rich Mouser, he suggested the Intro needed something to help carry it. He added what I call the "Kashmir keys" and I can't imagine the song without it now. Jayme Lewis did a spectacular job on bass, as he does. In fact, we later filmed a live-in-studio version at his place which can be seen on YouTube.
This one started like a song by Queen or the Black Crowes but I think it ended up being harder hitting than what either group would do. Funny how tracks can turn out different than expected. The lyrics are clearly talking about someone who I was not particularly fond of so maybe it works as a heavier production, ha.
Speaking of the production, I remember struggling with the mix on this. I wanted the drum intro to smack you in the face when it came in. I imagined "Get A Grip" by Aerosmith or "When the Levee Breaks" by Led Zeppelin. I played with room mics, overhead mics, and room mic emulations to get it where I want.
The solo starts with a bluesy approach but as it develops, I added licks that remind me of Ty Tabor or Steve Lukather. The Outro solo especially reminds me of something Lukather would do. The middle section after the first solo is of course Rush-inspired. It's in 7/8 time and is a mashup of the "Tom Sawyer" riff. If I did anything over, I would add an extra bar or 2 for each soloist here. One bar is not enough! Oh well, maybe the live version...
This a masterpiece as far as I'm concerned. Like Try to Sleep, this was a free-floating single for several years before finding its home on this album. David Browning mixed and mastered the original version of this and I tell him all the time what a great job he did.
The story I always tell is that I sent over the scratch tracks for him to listen to so we could consider adding keys. The next response I got from him was, "the keys are all done! Here's the file!" I froze in my tracks when I saw the text because I am sooo particular about what gets added to my songs. I closed my eyes and nervously hit play on the track he sent over and....was blown away! He added everything from strings to piano to Mellotron and it was all so cool! It was a much larger production than I could've imagined. I feel that between his keys and production, the lyrics resonate more somehow.
We tracked the vocals and final acoustic guitars at his place which was a blast. I record on my own so often, it's nice to work with other people.
Although I largely saved instrumentals for the third Triptych, this song was important for me to have on here. In fact, the three Letting Go's played a significant role in deciding the styles of each Triptych. I knew the second one would have to be pop or blues based. The third LG was definitely instrumental. The first Triptych was hard for me to define stylistically, but ultimately I was experimenting with songs that were more progressive in nature. So I think Letting Go Part 1 with all it's odd-time signatures fits the bill.
The bulk of it is a 4-bar phrase with a different time signature in each bar (7/8, 6/8, 7/8, 8/8). This was a fun challenge to solo over. At times I observed the time signatures, but other times I intentionally tried to play over the barlines. I like creating musical situations that are challenging to improvise over because I feel they help me grow - it's a concept I got from Pat Metheny. In fact, the whole track is very inspired by Pat Metheny, whether it comes across that way or not.
The middle section where the band builds up to the drum solo is my experimentation with quartal harmony - chords based on 4th intervals. I'd have to look at my chart again, but I think these end up being various major and minor 11th chords here. I love studying jazz because it inevitably gives me ideas for my writing.
David Browning did the ethereal keyboard work and Jayme Lewis handled bass duties.
After Lester's drum solo, we restate the melody and end with a descending melody line that ends on the flat 9th - a daring way to end the album if you ask me!
Try listening to all three Letting Go's back to back. This is how I originally intended it and I think it's fun to hear both ways.
I wrote this in about 5 minutes in my apartment in North Hollywood. Sometimes it happens that quickly. The recording on the other hand wasn't so easy. I suppose the initial tracking wasn't bad. I rented a room at Third Encore Rehearsal Studios along with a British Vox AC-30, cranked it up and tracked this. But like many of my songs that I don't track with a band from the get-go, the tempo felt off. So I used the power of technology to time adjust things and that's where the trouble was. Somehow things got screwed up and it took a long time to get things set right again. Hats off to my dad who was able to get it all sorted out.
The arrangement was also challenging at times. The basic song was there but I have to hand it to David Browning who at the last minute was able to add some final keyboards to help it feel complete. He did some quirky sounding fills in the 1st Verse which aren't normally my thing, but I think worked it and helped keep the interest. That's the tricky part when it comes to arrangements - always adding or removing instruments every couple of bars to keep interest.